Mumbai: Power couple arm-twists BMC into relocating Savarkar installation

May 27, 2016, 08:04 IST | Tanvi Deshpande

BJP MLA Parag Alavani and his corporator wife Jyoti stage dharna to shift the installation of Veer Savarkar from near a loo to an already beautified traffic island

In the run-up to the 2017 BMC polls, politicos are leaving no stone unturned to grab the headlines as well as public attention alike.

Savarkar installation
Previous location of the installation near a public toilet and The installation has now been placed at the traffic island

Drama ensued at Vile Parle on Wednesday night after BJP MLA and his corporator wife, an independent, and their supporters, sat on a dharna against the ward office, accusing its officers of insulting Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. Protesting against the spot initially allotted to a Savarkar installation — adjacent to a public toilet — Parag and Jyoti Alavani claimed that it was a grave insult to the freedom fighter and the sacrifices he made during the freedom struggle. Their pressure tactics worked and the installation has been placed at the new location shortlisted by the Alavanis.

Parag and Jyoti Alavani
Parag and Jyoti Alavani

According to the couple, it was Jyoti who proposed the idea of paying homage to Savarkar by erecting his bust or a statue at a specific location near the airport in March. The proposal was accepted, and it was only after the construction work began did Jyoti spot a public toilet near the location.

Earlier in the month, the Alavanis asked the ward officer to shift the installation to the traffic island nearby. But since the spot was already beautified and maintained by a private agency, the ward officer turned down their request. Refusing to give up, the couple then approached the deputy municipal commissioner and the additional commissioner in the matter so that the inauguration takes place on Savarkar’s 133 birth anniversary, which is tomorrow. The Alavanis also claimed that they have roped in Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar for the inauguration ceremony.

“All this happened due to ward officer’s non-cooperation. It wasn’t a big task to relocate the installation. He asked us to approach his senior. When we met the additional commissioner, he too refused to help us, leaving us no choice but to protest,” said Parag.

Devendra Kumar Jain, assistant municipal commissioner (K/East ward), said, “The new location they asked for is already beautified by a private agency. It was the first illuminated traffic island in the city. So I asked them to talk to the municipal commissioner since the contract had already been issued.”

Refusing to comment further, he added that the couple’s demand has been approved and the installation is placed at the traffic island.

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